So, what makes a really good tortilla? How it was made? The ingredients that went into it? What about its social responsibility?
To be clear right away, we aren’t at all sponsored by the company we’re featuring today. We just think they’re awesome and want to share their story. So, on this edition of Saturday’s Around the World, we’re bringing our focus to Mexico and aiming it at what one tortilla company is doing to support the heirloom corn farmers!
Corn. It has a bit a bad reputation lately, what with all of the genetic modification and processing certain varieties have gone through before they make it onto your plate. About 85% of corn in the United States has been modified 1, and along the way, this staple has not only lost much of its flavor and nutritional value but, even more tragically, its’ cultural roots.
Masienda, a tortilla company started by Jorge Gaviria in 2014, is aiming to change the way we think about our food. By working with a handful of independent heirloom corn farmers throughout Mexico to distribute this delicious vegetable to working kitchens across the United States, they’re not only creating proper tortillas with just a few ingredients, they’re bringing the exceptional nutritional value and taste of this corn back into the mind of the consumer.
One of our new favorite creators, The Perennial Plate, tells the story of how Masienda went to Oaxaca, Mexico to discover what goes into the best tortillas, and how their relationship with farmers is revolutionizing what the world expects not just out of their tortillas, but the stories that live behind all of their foods.
Could this demand for true tortillas create a ripple effect?
Are we at a point where flavor can win out against cost? Once we have a taste for the real deal (ingredients, straight from the farmers), perhaps we’ll begin to look for more ways to integrate them into our lives? More and more it seems the story behind the product is beginning to enhance our experience with it. If this expanded past corn and the demand translated into other products, how may our collective health be affected?
One of the changes I’ve witnessed just having grown up in Vermont is that we’re losing the little guys. Small dairy farms that enhance the culture around the area are just not able to survive against the big producers, so they’re shutting down. These farms that have been in families for generations are no longer in operation, and the people who spent their lives on them are off to find other work. (You can learn more about what’s happening with small dairy farms in this piece from NPR.)
But, with more companies like Masienda popping up, could we help more small farmers around the world establish and thrive in the lives they desire? Could we support these people working to create better products just by thinking about where we spend our money? What kind of effect would this have on morale? What about pride?
Is it possible we could go back to knowing, for a fact, who and where our food is coming from?
Businesses have the power to change our desires… so why not aim for good?
If you’d like to learn more about Masienda (including where you can pick up some tortillas), spend a little time on their site. I’m going to go have a taco night and think about this.
Stay open to new possibilities!
“No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein
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- Johnson, Stanley, et al. Quantification of the Impacts on US Agriculture of Biotechnology-Derived Crops Planted in 2006 . National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, Washington, DC, 2008, Quantification of the Impacts on US Agriculture of Biotechnology-Derived Crops Planted in 2006 , https://www.ncfap.org/. Accessed 6 June 2018. ↩
- “Masienda.” Vimeo, Perennial Plate, June 2017, vimeo.com/216575094. Accessed 5 June 2018. ↩